Wednesday Night #1808 with Dr. Mark Roper

Written by  //  October 26, 2016  //  Mark Roper, Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

We are at the cutting edge of the deterioration of the [healthcare] system

P R O L O G U E

We are very pleased that Dr. Mark Roper will be joining us to talk about some of the healthcare issues facing our population.
It seems that ever since the early days of talk about the MUHC, there has been a degree of unease about the scheme, even while generally agreed that the dear old Royal Vic was in a sad state.
Over the years, we seem to have become almost inured to the stream of criticisms and bad news surrounding the project, with occasional flare-ups of reaction to certain egregious statements by government authorities, or events such as those involving the late and unlamented Dr. Porter.
We witnessed, but refused to participate in the celebratory march to the opening of the new hospital, agreeing with  André Picard: In pursuit of ‘superhospitals,’ [that] the public interest came last, and commenting “So, everyone paid $5 to walk to the MUHC and enjoy a fiesta while the PPP is charging the volunteer organizations who raise money for the hospital $60K p/a rent? And parking fees are almost $50 per day? There is something VERY wrong with this picture.”
We rolled our eyes and sighed helplessly when we read that ” [only] nine of the 13 ORs have been functioning since the spring, that number will drop to five as of June 24. And during the two-week construction holiday in July, only three ORs will be running, before going back up to five and then to nine after Labour Day.” (Some MUHC equipment to sit idle, nearly 50 beds to close in summer)
Nothing apparently has changed since Université de Montréal researcher Damien Contandriopoulos gave the closing address on the future of hospitals a year ago, stating that Quebec’s health care system leads way in ‘failure’
Furthermore, we now have two candidates for the position of head of of the MUHC and both have proposed further mergers [MUHC patients’ committee worried about ‘rumoured’ hospital merger]
Every camel’s back has that final straw and in our case, it was the news that according to new MUHC rules, four doctors, who have 35 to 40 years experience and follow high-risk pregnancies, are expected to refer their patients to another institution once they reach their quota of 14 deliveries per 28 day period. (Doctors sue MUHC over delivery quotas they say threaten babies). We cannot think of anything more distressing for the expectant (high-risk) mother than to be told that she has to change doctors at this critical juncture.
We would add that this is ludicrous in this age of fierce debate over a woman’s right to make decisions about abortion (but not about conditions of birth?). Finally, what about the worries that Quebec’s birth rate continues to decline?
And no cure/relief apparently from the Fall budget update: “the government says it will reinvest $300 million in health care, $100 million of which will be spent this year and go towards long-term care facilities for the elderly and those with disabilities, as well as for improving home-care services.” (Quebec to inject $135 million more into health and education following surplus)

As we ranted, we were reminded of a piece that Céline Cooper wrote in July: Before Montreal can thrive, it needs to educate itself
“Last month, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a socio-economic study called Montréal: Métropole de Talent. The study looks at Montreal’s relative performance within a constellation of 18 city members of the OECD (Manchester, Boston, Dublin, Stockholm and Toronto, for example).
It concludes that Montreal has the necessary DNA to thrive as a major hub for innovation and economic development at both national and international levels. It lauds our enviable quality of life. We are bursting at the seams with potential.
Yet, the findings echo much of what we’ve read in other studies focused on Montreal, including the 2014 BMO and Boston Consulting Group study Building a New Momentum in Montreal and the 2014 Institut du Québec research group study. Despite our strategic advantages, Montreal seems chronically incapable of translating our potential into performance.”
All true, no doubt, but what we seem to excel at recently is screwing up what ever good project we undertake.

Of course, our problems pale by comparison with the terrible situations in Aleppo and Mosul where civilians, children, infrastructure, and institutions like hospitals are targeted by both sides and no solution is in sight. There is, however, a ray of light from northern Syria, where Kurds have established Rojava: an autonomous experimental state that’s serving as a refuge for people displaced by civil wars in Iraq and Syria. In its radically decentralized government, power is carefully balanced among ethnic groups and between men and women, and its future looks promising—but it’s also isolated, which endangers its democratic vision.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan Democracy is in Limbo
(NYT) Venezuela is at a breaking point. Canceling the referendum, which the majority wanted, closes the escape valve that has so far contained the discontent of over 80 percent of Venezuelans in the face of the economic and social collapse brought about by Mr. Maduro’s government. And there is no doubt that adding greater pressure to the boiling cauldron that Venezuelan society has become could cause it to explode.

And there is the charming Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, beating  war drums wherever he goes (currently Japan) and making nice with China

With only two weeks to go, worries that Donald Trump’s campaign would overtake Hillary Clinton appear no longer valid. Whether it was the second half of the Third Debate that ended his hopes, even his campaign manager acknowledged being “behind” in the final stretch. Now all the talk is of the “down-ballot battles”. We remain concerned, along with many others, that the aftermath of a Trump loss will not be pretty and could be both ugly and violent. [Poll: Most see a Hillary Clinton victory and a fair count ahead (CNN) Almost 7 in 10 voters nationwide say they think Hillary Clinton will win the presidency next month, but most say that if that happens, Donald Trump will not accept the results and concede, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.

At home in Canada, our concerns are almost trivial by comparison
Reports on the faltering efforts to clean up the spill from the Nathan E Stewart in the Great Bear Rainforest remind us that Justin Trudeau promised last November that tanker traffic would be banned from the North coast of BC. Seems a loophole covered the tug operations.
For those who are worried about the fate of CETA and TPP, we highly recommend Colin Robertson’s thoughtful piece, With CETA and TPP in limbo, here’s how Canada can give trade a practical boost
And there is electoral reform – we hope to discuss this in depth with our MP at a future Wednesday Night when Parliament is in recess. In the meantime, there is an active exchange among some Wednesday Nighters.

As we hate to leave you on a gloomy note,
Congratulations to Kyle Matthews who succeeds the amazing Frank Chalk as Executive Director of The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), Canada’s leading research and advocacy institute for genocide and mass atrocity crimes prevention.
The story of the Nonsense paper written by iOS autocomplete that was accepted for a conference is both a condemnation of the proliferation of important-sounding conferences and pretty funny. Bravo to the New Zealand professor who resorted to iOS autocomplete function to help him write the abstract. As  he wrote in a blog post on Thursday. “I started a sentence with ‘atomic’ or ‘nuclear’ and then randomly hit the autocomplete suggestions.

We know that no Wednesday Nighter would ever submit an autocomplete paper, but admit it – it’s a tempting thought.

 

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